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Stork Raving Mad: A Meg Langslow Mystery    by Donna Andrews order for
Stork Raving Mad
by Donna Andrews
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Donna Andrews's Stork Raving Mad, which is as cozy as they come, opens on a madhouse. Meg Langslow and her husband Michael Waterston (an associate drama professor at Caerphilly College) are imminently expecting twins, which (not knowing the sexes yet) they refer to by such nicknames as Chip & Dale and Bonnie & Clyde.

But that's not what makes it a madhouse. As well as regular household members - in addition to Meg and Michael there's Meg's brother Rob, her solicitous cousin Rose Noire, and her grandfather - they've been inundated by Caerphilly drama students, who have been homeless for the past three weeks because of a broken college heating plant. When Michael asks Meg to take in another stray, elderly Spanish playwright Ignacio Mendoza (who's come for the opening night of a play that's part of drama grad student Ramon Soto's dissertation project), she agrees.

Next on the scene are unpleasant uninvited guests, the fanatically anti-drama, universally disliked English department professor Jean Wright (who's unfortunately on Michael's tenure committee) and Dr. Enrique Blanco, the member of administrative services responsible for the heating fiasco. They have come to inform Ramon that his dissertation topic (previously approved) has been found unacceptable, and that his show must not go on.

While Meg and Michael quickly gather allies for a meeting to address the problem, Dr. Wright is brained by a statue of Egyptian goddess Tawaret (protector of pregant women) given to Meg by Rose Noire. And though murder is never funny, this one has its farcical side as it seems there were multiple contenders for the role of killer - the question becomes, which one of them actually succeeded in doing the dire deed?

In between dealing with dozens of houseguests, her parents (who also show up at the scene), and the very active infants inside her, Meg gently feeds Chief Burke with clues. She tracks down the true villain of the piece, but when she comes under attack herself, it's maternal hormones that save the day. Stork Raving Mad is hilarious and made me want to track down the earlier eleven entries in the series; don't miss this one.

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